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Opening Statement by NNSA Administrator D’Agostino FY2012 Budget Hearing Testimony Senate Energy and Water Development Subcommittee, Senate Appropriations Committee

May 04, 2011

Madame
Chairwoman, Ranking Member Alexander, thank you for the opportunity to address
this committee today.  But more
importantly, thank you for your continued support of the National Nuclear
Security Administration, and the 35,000 men and women working across our
enterprise to keep our country safe, protect our allies, and enhance global
security.  We could not do this work
without strong, bipartisan support and engaged leadership from the Congress.

As
I come before you today, the capabilities NNSA offers the nation – and indeed
the world – are on display in real time. 
Just last week, I had the opportunity to travel to Nevada to visit our
Remote Sensing Laboratory. For seven weeks, the talented and dedicated men and
women at RSL have been working with their colleagues from across the enterprise
to support the response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck
Japan on March 11, 2011.  They have been
providing critical information to our interagency colleagues, and to our
partners in Japan.

Of
course, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Japan during this very
difficult time. But I was honored to have the opportunity to personally thank
our team for their outstanding work. 

Our
ability to respond to this crisis is the latest example of the vital and
diverse role we play in implementing the President’s nuclear security agenda,
and of the need to invest in the future of our enterprise.  This budget request seeks the funds required
to make those investments.  

As
I see it, this budget request can be broken down into three key themes.

First,
we are investing in the future. President Obama has requested $7.6 billion for our Weapons
Activities account to support our efforts to leverage the best science and technology
in the world to maintain our nuclear deterrent. 
This will enable us to enhance our surveillance of the stockpile,
continue to design the modern facilities we need to maintain the nation’s
expertise in uranium processing and plutonium research, and proceed with key
life extension programs.

A
critical part of that is the life extension program for the W78 warhead.  Consistent with the policies outlined in the
President’s Nuclear Posture Review, we have submitted a request to this
Committee and the House Energy and Water Development Subcommittee to begin
studying the requirements for the W78 LEP, including options for
interoperability of the nuclear explosive package with the Navy’s W88
warhead.   I strongly encourage this
committee to approve that request as soon as possible. 

Investing
in a modern enterprise is critical to our stockpile stewardship program, but it
also supports the full range of NNSA’s nuclear security missions, which brings me to the second key theme in this budget
request: we are implementing the President’s nuclear security agenda.

As
President Obama said in his speech in Prague in April 2009, the threat of a
terrorist acquiring and using a nuclear weapons is the most immediate and
extreme threat we face.  

Preventing
the spread of nuclear weapons and keeping dangerous nuclear materials out of
the hands of terrorists is a vital national security priority.  To
address that threat, we are requesting $2.5 billion in 2012 and more than $14.2
billion over the next five years for our nuclear nonproliferation
programs.  This will provide the
resources required to meet commitments secured during the 2010 Nuclear Security
Summit. 

To
power the nuclear Navy, President Obama has requested $1.1 billion for NNSA’s
naval reactors program.  This will allow us to continue the design work on
the propulsion unit for the OHIO-class replacement submarine in order to meet
the Navy’s required procurement date of 2019.   It includes critical
investments in a modern and sustainable spent nuclear fuel infrastructure at
the naval reactors site at Idaho National Laboratory.   Finally, it seeks the resources to refuel the
land-based prototype reactor in Upstate New York.

Madame Chairwoman, I realize that
this committee has many competing requirements, and that this request comes at
a time of acute financial stress for our entire country.  While I believe nothing is more important
than ensuring our nation’s security, It is my responsibility to assure you that
we can manage these increased resources wisely. 

That
brings me to the third key theme outlined in this budget request, and that is
our commitment to Improving the way we do business and manage our resources. 

For us, improving our project
management is a part of implementing achieving our mission and implementing the
President’s nuclear security agenda. To better ensure we bring these major
projects to completion on time and on budget, we will ensure that we have
qualified project managers leading our major projects. We will set cost and
schedule baselines on construction projects when design work is 90 percent
complete, and we will subject those estimates to rigorous independent
reviews. 

We are partnering with our M&O
partners to streamline our governance model to devote more resources to mission
work while maximizing safety and security at sites.

We are making sure we have the right
contracting strategy in place.

We are continuing to find innovative
ways to save money across the enterprise. 
For example, since 2007, our Supply Chain Management Center has used new technologies
and pooled purchasing power to drive efficiencies across our sites.  The
result has been more than $213 million in auditable cost savings.

All of this is part of our effort to
create “One NNSA,” a true partnership between all of our programs and all of
our partners to fulfill our common mission.

Taken together, these steps will
ensure we have a modern, 21st century nuclear security enterprise
that is
safer, more secure, more efficient, and organized to succeed. 

That
is the vision outlined in this budget request. 
It supports the full range of NNSA missions. More importantly, it represents
a critical investment in the infrastructure, the people, and the science,
technology and engineering required to fulfill our missions. I look forward to
working with the members of this Committee to help make that vision a reality.  With that I would be happy to take any
questions you have.